Running any train without a conductor is dangerous.

Even a single-car train with only one locomotive must be manned by at least two qualified persons: one certified, qualified and rested conductor and one certified, qualified and rested locomotive engineer.

Many non-railroad readers often confuse these two similar, yet different, train crew members.

The conductor of a train is similar to the captain of a ship or a foreman at a construction site. The conductor is in charge of the management and safety of the entire train.

Often other crew members may be needed to assist the conductor: assistant conductors on passenger trains and brakemen and/or flagmen on freight trains who can assist the conductor in making backup moves, lining switches and protecting crossings, etc.

Locomotives are huge, with many blind spots. It is impossible to have an engine move in reverse without losing complete sight of the opposite side the engineer is operating from.

Prior to the ridiculous practice of single-person train crews, no train could ever back up “blind” without serious repercussions from railroad management or regulatory agencies. Conductors who allowed a reverse movement with a single “pair of eyes” were in violation.

There are too many safety issues compromised with single-person operations to be listed in this letter. Allowing any train to operate without at least two qualified persons shows blatant disregard for public safety.

I have more than 43 years of experience serving as both conductor and engineer, being in charge of and operating every type and size of train ever operated in New England.

Dan Lauzon